AAGU
Anarchistische Anti-deportatie Groep Utrecht


12 december 2016: AAGU-activisten in hoger beroep veroordeeld voor raadszaalactie tegen gezinsgevangenis

English translation: December 12 2016: ...

Op maandag 12 december 2016 bevestigde het gerechtshof in Arnhem de veroordeling in eerste aanleg van vijf AAGU-activisten wegens een actie tijdens een gemeenteraadsvergadering in Zeist op 6 oktober 2015. Zij stonden terecht voor het verstoren van een openbare vergadering en lokaalvredebreuk. Eén activiste werd, op grond van haar strafblad én de inhoud van haar laatste woord tijdens de zitting, veroordeeld tot een onvoorwaardelijke gevangisstraf van twee weken en het uitzitten van eerdere voorwaardelijke gevangisstraf van twee maanden. De overige vijf kregen een boete van 350 euro opgelegd.


Op 6 oktober 2015 hield een grotere groep activisten eerder op de dag een solidariteitsdemonstratie bij Kamp Zeist zelf en een lawaaidemonstratie bij het gemeentehuis, voorafgaand aan de raadsvergadering. Tijdens de bewuste raadsvergadering protesteerde AAGU met spandoeken en leuzen [http://www.aagu.nl/2015/verstoren-gemeenteraad-6.10.15.html] tegen het door de gemeente afgeven van een bouwvergunning voor de gezinsgevangenis voor vluchtelingen op Kamp Zeist. Burgemeester Koos Janssen schorste de vergadering en liet vervolgens vijf activisten aanhouden en uit de zaal verwijderen.

Net als de rechtbank in Utrecht verwierp het hof in Arnhem alle punten die advocaat Willem Jebbink naar voren bracht. Het bekende verhaal dat er andere manieren zijn om je mening te uiten werd weer gedebiteerd. Vier van de vijf gedaagden kregen net als in eerste aanleg een boete van 350 euro opgelegd. De vijfde verdachte kreeg van de rechtbank Utrecht al een zwaardere straf, twee weken voorwaardelijke gevangenisstraf, opgelegd vanwege haar langere strafblad. Ook werd besloten tot het ten uitvoer leggen van een voorwaardelijke gevangenisstraf van twee maanden, die de betreffende activiste nog had staan op grond van een veroordeling wegens opruiing in een aantal van haar teksten op internet [http://13-september.nl/definitieve-veroordeling-joke-kaviaar-tot-twee-maanden-voorwaardelijk-wegens-opruiing-strijd-gaat-door/]. Het hof hield aan die tenuitvoerlegging vast, en zette de voorwaardelijke gevangenisstraf van twee weken om in een onvoorwaardelijke. Daarbij verwees het naar de inhoud van het laatste woord van deze activiste [https://www.indymedia.nl/node/37191], waarin zij onder meer zei dat een veroordeling “geen invloed zal hebben op acties in de toekomst” en dat “het haar niet tegenhoudt”.

De vijf gaan in cassatie tegen het vonnis van het hof. AAGU-activisten stonden de laatste tijd vaker voor de rechter. Vorige week veroordeelde de rechtbank in Den Haag nog twee personen tot een boete van 250 euro wegens smaad tegen bouwbedrijf De Vries en Verburg, dat de gezinsgevangenis bouwde [http://www.aagu.nl/2016/veroordeeld-smaad.html]. Zij waren aangehouden voor het plakken van posters met de tekst “De Vries en Verburg – Uw duurzame partner in deportaties – Bouwt vol trots de gezinsgevangenis voor vluchtelingen op Kamp Zeist”. Ook tegen deze absurde veroordeling, waarin de facto gesteld werd dat felle kritiek op bedrijven die overheidsopdrachten uitvoeren verboden is, werd hoger beroep ingesteld.

Intussen was de gezinsgevangenis op Kamp Zeist afgelopen week weer in het nieuws omdat het Afghaanse gezin Moradi daar was vastgezet. De IND en Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek probeerden dit gezin op uiterst slinkse wijze te deporteren terwijl er nog een aanvraag liep voor een verblijfsvergunning op grond van het beleid voor verwesterde Afghaanse meisjes [https://www.defenceforchildren.nl/p/200/5447/mo233-m80/mo481-cg326/mo480-cg249/gewortelde-kinderen]. De deportatie werd, voor nu, op het laatste moment tegengehouden door de rechter, die besloot dat het gezin hier de procedure mag afwachten [http://www.dvhn.nl/drenthe/Samira-uit-Emmen-kan-voorlopig-blijven-21843263.html]. Inmiddels is het gezin teruggekeerd naar de gezinslocatie in Emmen.



English

December 5, 2016: AAGU activists convicted of "libel"

On December 5, in the lawsuit against two AAGU activists because of pasting the poster “De Vries en Verburg – Uw duurzame partner in deportaties – Bouwt vol trots de gezinsgevangenis voor vluchtelingen op Kamp Zeist” ("De Vries and Verburg - Your sustainable partner in deportations – Proudly builds the family prison for refugees at Kamp Zeist") the two activists were convicted of libel. Both were fined 250 euros and one of them also got one week suspended sentence with two years probation.


Prior to the lawsuit we stood with posters and the banner carried during the campaign in front of the court for half an hour. Now all of the sudden this was no problem. Reason for the defendants and their lawyers to make a few pictures and send them by e-mail to the prosecutor who was handling the case to rub his nose in it. In other words: What do you mean, libel? Bring it on.

Truth

The case revolved around a number of things. First of all, the truth. Because it's true: The company built the prison for refugee families and their children. And that prison has only one goal: the deportation of those families.
The prosecutor, who was followed by the judge in everything, began to argue that it was not a prison, because "a prison is for criminals serving a sentence and immigration detention is a measure". The fact that these detention centers, and therefore also the family prison, are as well designed to lock people up, and even with no prospect of release, without knowing how long it will takes, without trial, and with deportation as a goal, was totally ignored. The quotes from children who have been there and their descriptions of the family prison contained in the last word of one of the two accused, have had totally no influence on the outcome of the court case. Apparently this judge finds that children these are lying.
Then there was the question of whether the company was proud of the result. All we needed to do was to refer to the reluctant admission of pride by the principal during his witnesses to the magistrate: "You ask me if the company is proud of the result. I tell you that a good architectural result is put down. "

Then came the wrangling over the term deportations, which is a loaded term as many people still seem to think that Hitler during WWII has the exclusive right using that term, and that it would always be about that when the word is used. However, some comparison in the sense of responsibility is indeed in place. At some point lawyer Willem Jebbink said during his plea that the company could not say, "Wir haben es nicht gesehen ...". The look of the prosecutor spoke volumes. Also when Jebbink spoke of the "banality of evil" to show how such a trivial construction firm as De Vries and Verburg can indeed be responsible for deportations, we could read the annoyance of his face. The fact that the term "deportation" is used by the IND on its website and used by the military police ('deportee'), were totally irrelevant to both the prosecutor and judge : we are NOT allowed to say it, even though in dictionary definitions can be found like "the forced carrying of people to a place they do not want to go to. " And then there is also the description on Wikipedia. So is the company that worked at building a family prison for one and a half year durable as a partner in deportations? Yes.

Freedom of speech

In connection with this term deportations both the public prosecutor and Jebbink cited jurisprudence of the “Reisburo Rita" case. Also someone was sued for libel here and this case resulted in acquittal. The poster read: “Reisburo Rita – arrestatie, deportatie, crematie – Adequaat tot het bittere eind” ("Travel Agency Rita - arrest, deportation, cremation - Appropriate to the bitter end.") According to the public prosecutor this case was incomparable, because here a political responsible person was denounced, namely Verdonk. The very fact that the poster this case is about is pointing out the responsibility of a company made the prosecutor conclude that in this case it is libel, because De Vries and Verburg is "just a contractor, a construction company" and may, according to him not be addressed about their responsibility (so he thinks that they are not responsible). And 'therefore' the poster is offensive and 'therefore' libel.
Jebbink correctly argued that the case is however comparable and quoted the judgment of the court, "the context of the utterance is a social and political debate" and "the poster calls in no way to the use of violence, hatred, discrimination or disruption of public order in any way" and "the poster contains a judgement of values. " Then he quoted decisions of the European Court making this fall under the protection of Article 10: freedom of expression. It is determined by the EH time and again that it can not simply be limited. "When it comes to social and political debate also exaggeration, provocation, extravagance and vulgarity is lawful".

'Plofkippen' (fattened chickens)

Finally Jebbink also made a comparison with campaigns such as those being conducted by Wakker Dier (Animal Awake) against companies that sell 'plofkippen'. Here as well, companies are targeted by fierce campaigns. Why is the campaign against a company that builds a prison not allowed? Why would that be libel?
The officer had done some research to find evidence for 'libel'. He can certainly be accused of not doing his home work. He had been taking a look at the AAGU website and concluded: "This constitutes slander." And he even had found "a list of phone numbers of employees" and apparently it had, as he put it, been the intention to deter the company, as well as other companies, from carrying out contracts such as this one.

Verdict

This way the judge finally came to his verdict after the final words of the two defendants: guilty of libel. Because: "The criticism of government policy was uttered over the back of a private company. That it is hurtful and thus libel." Also the judge concluded that there is no question of a prison, of deportations and no pride in the results achieved... So total denial. And over whose back was it again? Over the backs of refugee families and children whose detention is profit for De Vries en Verburg, isn't it?

The two were each sentenced to a fine of 250 euros, the demand of the public prosecutor. For one of the two the judge went even further: he added one week suspended sentence with two years probation. Because of quite a criminal record and "thus recidivism," and also the contents of the last word that led to the conclusion: “risk of repetition."

The two activists have appealed. Because this verdict actually means that every pointing out, addressing and denounciation of companies because they are involved in filthy practices can easily be made punishable as libel. And that affects many campaigns. It can not be that companies with blood on their hands can no longer be held accountable.
The poster in this case now officially is – but not yet irrevocably - 'libel'. The poster can be downloaded to print, and to paste at for example construction sites of De Vries en Verburg or again the whole village of Stolwijk where they have their office.
The construction of the family prison may (unfortunately) have been completed: the company still has dirty hands.

Read the last word of one defendant
Read the last word of the other defendant
(both in Dutch.. so you'll have to run it through a translation program)